The Great Pumpkin beer tasting

 

 

So I decided to try some Pumpkin beers on Hallowe’en while watching some bad horror movies (starting with “The Children”- murderous kids and toddlers go on the rampage!) I had five different beers from four breweries. I started with Parallel 49’s Shadenfreude Pumpkin Oktoberfest. A clever idea marrying the easy, malty marzen style lager of the Oktoberfest with some pumpkin and spices of Hallowe’en and Thanksgiving.

 

 

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. Parallel 49 Schadenfreude Pumpkin Oktoberfest

This is the only lager from the group and it certainly is easy drinking. There is some nice sweet pumpkin . . . → Read More: The Great Pumpkin beer tasting

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Hoyne Wolf Vine Wet Hopped Pale Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Hoyne Wolf Vine is the first beer I have reviewed from this fairly new brewery. Their IPA is popular as is their version of a dark mild, Dark Matter. This is a limited release due to the availability of the fresh hops and sees Sean Hoyne, formerly of Swans brewpub and Canoe brewpub, and brother of Lighthouse founder and brewer Paul Hoyne, enter the fresh/wet hopped beer fad that is gripping British Columbia at this time of year.

Instead of going for an IPA, Hoyne has gone for the less bitter pale ale, and given it the . . . → Read More: Hoyne Wolf Vine Wet Hopped Pale Ale

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It’s Hammer Time -Phillips Style

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Phillips Brewing make a highly regarded Imperial Stout every year in limited amounts which usually sells out fairly quickly. This . . . → Read More: It’s Hammer Time -Phillips Style

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Nogne O God Jul (Winter Ale)

Wrangler Rating: (Outstanding)

Nogne O is a craft brewery from Norway, and judging from my first experience of their beer, is going to take the craft brewing world by storm! Their Strong Winter Warmer is an absolute must for any fan of dark rich warming ales.

It pours a deep, dark mahogany amber, that needs to be held up to the light to appreciate its colour. The aromas that hit you are ones of spice, dates, madeira and caramel. As you drink this luxurious ale the tan head slowly dissipates, but the flavour does not. Notes of Christmas pudding . . . → Read More: Nogne O God Jul (Winter Ale)

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Winter Beer Showdown

Seasonal beers are filling the shelves right about now, and go well beyond any single type. The basic style is the classic Winter Warmer. This is not usually spiced but brewed to a slightly stronger alcohol volume (6% – 7% is typical for this warming malty style). Specialty Christmas beers take their cues from the old Wassail Ales – spiced, sometimes fortified, mulled beer given to carol singers in Medieval England. Although no longer fortified or served warm, it is usually strong and spiced, rich and filling. There are other winter seasonal ales brewed in the Belgium style. They tend . . . → Read More: Winter Beer Showdown

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Samuel Smith Yorkshire Stingo

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Samuel Smith Yorkshire Stingo is a classic in the British beer scene. It’s an Old Ale which means that it has had some time well spent in very old seasoned oak casks, many of which date back more than a century. Each year adds to the beer-soaked wood and helps them give more complexity to the finished product. This ale spends over a year conditioning in the oak and is bottled with yeast, so can condition further in the bottle. It pours a deep amber colour with a thick and lively tan head. The aromas are fruity . . . → Read More: Samuel Smith Yorkshire Stingo

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Driftwood Belle Royale

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Driftwood Brewery Belle Royale is described as a Strong Belgian Cherry Ale, and seems to be based on a Tripel or strong golden ale recipe, with “900 pounds of cherries” added. They don’t specify how much beer gets the 900 pounds but we get the idea – there’s a lot, and they’re real cherries, not cherry flavour or syrup. It has a lovely pink amber colour, a thinnish head, with a spicy, fruity aroma. The flavour has a hit of sweet spice and sour red cherries that lingers on the palate and develops into a long finish . . . → Read More: Driftwood Belle Royale

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Dogfish Head Midas Touch

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Yum Yum! Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch is both justified and ancient, being based on a 2700 year old ancient Anatolian recipe which is a re-creation based on analysis of drinking vessels that were uncovered during an archaeological dig in what is now Turkey – drinking vessels that resided within what is thought to be the tomb of none other than King Midas himself (although suspiciously they had not been turned to gold!)

I can’t say that I have ever tasted a beer quite like this (which is equal parts a delight and a shame.) Deeply golden . . . → Read More: Dogfish Head Midas Touch

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Pyramid Breweries Snow Cap Winter Warmer

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Pyramid Snow Cap is the Winter seasonal offering from this popular Seattle brewery, and claims to be made in the “spirit of the British Winter ales”. At 7% alcohol, it certainly has the strength to warm the cockles, but does the flavour keep up? The combination of English and Pacific North West hops give this Winter warmer a nice bitterness, but unlike many other North American versions of this classic Christmas brew, it has copious amounts of delicious malt to back it up and keep them in check. There are notes of cocoa bean and dark caramel . . . → Read More: Pyramid Breweries Snow Cap Winter Warmer

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Rogue Mogul Madness Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Rogue Mogul Madness Ale is a Winter warmer with bite. It has a dark ruby-brown colour and a fairly creamy tan head that stays with the beer. There are some caramel flavours with some faint notes of banana bread. The unusual thing for a winter warmer, but not unusual for Rogue, are the obvious handfuls of hops used in the brew. They offer a pleasant bitterness on the finish that tastes a little grapefruity, and tends to last for a while after the beer has been swallowed. This is an enjoyable beer, but tastes like a good . . . → Read More: Rogue Mogul Madness Ale

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Anchor Brewing ‘Our Special Ale’ 2009 (Christmas Ale)

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Anchor Brewing famously change the recipe for their Special Ale every year, as well choose a different tree, a symbol of the Winter Solstice, to adorn the label. This version (2009), when held up to the light, has a gorgeously dense ruby colour and an almost creamy pale tan head. The aroma is full of malty molasses with a definite hoppy highlight. The flavours that follow fill the mouth, but don’t overwhelm it; the main taste that starts off is a strong malty one, that develops into a black molasses backbone to the beer. There are some . . . → Read More: Anchor Brewing ‘Our Special Ale’ 2009 (Christmas Ale)

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Granville Island Brewing Pumpkin Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Granville Island Pumpkin Ale is a tasty bright ruddy amber coloured beer. The aroma is really quite sweet, and is reminiscent of a Belgian strong pale ale, smelling of candied orange peel and sweet spice. The flavour is thankfully not as sugary as the nose suggests, containing toasted pumpkin seed, and the roasted flesh of the pumpkin. The beer notes are not lost though, there are plenty of roasty malt flavours and a nice refreshing bitter finish. Why not pair this with some cold roast meat and chutney left over from a Thanksgiving lunch – it’ll go . . . → Read More: Granville Island Brewing Pumpkin Ale

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Traquair Jacobite Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Outstanding)

Traquair Jacobite Ale is brewed in the historic Traquair House, one of the oldest inhabited houses in Britain. This beer descends from an 18th century recipe, and it has left us a very full-bodied Scotch Ale. The name ‘Jacobite’ comes from the followers of King James II of England, VII of Scotland who was deposed as King of Great Britain by the Dutch William of Orange. In 1745 there was a final failed attempt to oust the German King George II in favour of Charles Stuart ( the grandson of James II/VII) and this beer commemorates . . . → Read More: Traquair Jacobite Ale

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Fuller’s Organic Honey Dew Ale

Wrangler Rating: (excellent)

Fuller’s Honey Dew is a Golden / Summer Ale that is brewed with organic honey; don’t think that this is a sweet beer though, as the honey is subtle and beautifully balanced. There is a touch of the pale malt, a spritz of hops and the honey note that finishes it all off with a thirst quenching roundness. A nicely chilled pint of this on a hot summer’s afternoon is where it’s best. It is light enough to drink on its own all day, or matched with a summer salad or grilled chicken dish. It has . . . → Read More: Fuller’s Organic Honey Dew Ale

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Fraoch Heather Ale (Williams Bros. Brewing)

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

This is a version of an old Scottish recipe, using heather flowers and gale to flavour the brew rather than hops. Gale is a plant traditionally use to make ‘Gruit’, a mixture of herbs to flavour ale. It is great to see someone make historic ales as the Williams Brothers do; their selection includes four other beers which are well worth investigating. The beer has a pale amber colour with a light head. There is a touch of malt on the palate followed by an attractive herbaceous floral flavour. The subtle sweetness of the heather and . . . → Read More: Fraoch Heather Ale (Williams Bros. Brewing)

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